Chat with Katie Strang
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, hockey writer Katie Strang stops by to chat about the latest news from around the ice.
Strang is a graduate of Michigan State University and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
Send your questions now and join Strang Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Katie Strang (1:01 PM)
Hello hockey fans! Thanks for joining me for another installment of our weekly NHL live chat.We'll get to your questions right away, but first wanted to give a huge shout-out of congratulations to long-time loyal chatter Jesse (Carmel, NY) who just got hitched this past weekend to his fiancee (now wife) Danielle!They even had hockey-themed nibbles at their wedding (I got photo verification) of which I was supremely jealous.Mazel Tov to those two!
Tom (Maple Grove)
How long do you give Capuano if the Isles struggle out of the gate?
Katie Strang (1:02 PM)
With a coach like Dan Bylsma still looking for work? Not long. If they have a rough stretch to start the season, he'll be feeling the heat, for sure.
Who's the most underrated goalie in the league?
Katie Strang (1:04 PM)
Hmmm...great question Alex. Not sure who is the most underrated, but I do think we are going to see some backups win starting jobs this season: Jake Allen in St. Louis, Robin Lehner in Ottawa, Alex Stalock in San Jose. Shoot, wouldn't be surprised to see it happen with Anton Khudobin in CAR, either. Could make for some mighty interesting storylines this season.
With all the talk that the bruins will trade a defenseman, I think the islanders would be the most logical trading partner...chris kelly and johnny boychuk for Okposo. The islanders need a veteran defenseman with some grit and boychuk has a rocket of a shot and kelly gives them some veteran leadership to help with all of their talented up and coming young guys...okposo would fit perfectly on the first line with krejci and lucic and he has a relatively cheap cap hit that the bruins can handle. what do you think?
Katie Strang (1:06 PM)
I agree that the Islanders are a logical trade partner for the Bruins, who I think are looking to get rid of either Johnny Boychuk or Matt Martkowski. Isles would like to upgrade on D via trade, but I doubt they part with Okposo after last season's success. Really made significant strides and I think team feels he is key part of team's core moving forward
I'm interested to know what happens to Ryan Johansen the longer this drags on. Assume we get to Oct. 9 and he has no contract, what does he do this season? Can he play overseas?
Katie Strang (1:08 PM)
He can sign oversees, and his agent Kurt Overhardt told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun this week that they have received several offers from KHL and other leagues, but don't count on that happening. Columbus needs him and he doesn't want to go play overseas. Both sides have to hope that the war of words that continues to escalate doesn't end up damaging the relationship between the club and the player irreparably.
Ed (Queens Village)
Which arena has best press box?
Katie Strang (1:09 PM)
Hard to argue against the dessert display in Boston. Atmosphere-wise, Montreal is the best. For everything. But I think that decrepit old Nassau Coliseum still has the best sight lines in the league
are the avs set up to become a team like the hawks and kings with that young core?
Katie Strang (1:11 PM)
No, Bob, not yet they aren't. Look at both of those teams and then look at their blue line. You've got Drew Doughty in LA and Duncan Keith in Chicago. Having a stud defenseman like that is key to a team of that caliber. Think there are still some legitimate questions marks with the Avs to that end
Which coach heading into the season is on the shortest leash?
Katie Strang (1:12 PM)
Has to be either Capuano on LI or Randy Carlyle in Toronto
Taylor (Los Angeles of Anaheim, CA)
Will Kessler give Anaheim (the Los Angeles of Orange County) the boost they need to get past the Kings? Or will the loss of veterans Teemu, Koivu and Hiller leave them searching for leaders?
Katie Strang (1:14 PM)
I'm not questioning Teemu's leadership, but I think it's safe to say that maybe the situation with him and Bruce Boudreau was not the healthiest. Of course ANA will miss those guys' veteran presence, but adding another legitimate center like Kesler to give you that 1-2 punch down the middle is a necessity to keep up with the big boys out West. It's unreal to me how stacked those Western Conference teams are.
Is it really set in stone that with Crosby and Malkin that Pittsburgh is still going to win the Metropolitan Division, in spite of new management and coaching?
Katie Strang (1:16 PM)
No not at all. Though, I think a coaching change will give the Pens a much-needed jolt (and those of you privy to my embarrassing snafu will get that reference, I hope) I think there was also a healthy dose of skepticism about firing one of the most well-respected hockey executives around in Ray Shero. Crosby and Malkin, when healthy, are the most dangerous tandem in the league, but their sheer presence in the lineup doesn't mean squat if they aren't playing up to their potential. Pens had the Rangers series practically wrapped up before blowing a 3-1 lead.
Hugh Gize (New York)
If you were a coach and you had a choice between having your team go about its business or play the game the right way, which would you pick and why?
Katie Strang (1:18 PM)
Thanks for joining us, Hugh. Haven't seen you since, what, the spring of 2012? Tough choice, really. Have to go with c) none of the above. Instead, I think I'd really want my team to respect the process
Brittany (New Jesey)
Do you think it's possible that Tanner Glass doesn't make the Rangers roster?
Katie Strang (1:20 PM)
I certainly think it's possible he should not make the roster, Brittany. Problem is, he's signed to a three-year, one-way deal, which means the Rangers are on the hook for his cap hit ($1.45, according to Capgeek.com) regardless of whether he is playing in the NHL or AHL. By comparison, Ryan Malone is on a two-way deal. Glass signing remains one of the most puzzling deals of the off-season, IMHO
I like that you said that you liked what Buffalo has done because I like what Buffalo has done too. I don't think they'll be good at all this season or compete for a playoff spot but, I like the way they've reallocated their assets starting around the trade deadline. What are your thoughts on Buffalo's outlook?
Katie Strang (1:21 PM)
I think they will surprise some people. I think they will be better than people think. Added some key vets and Ted Nolan gets the most out of his players. Not sure I think they will be a playoff team, but they won't be a bottom-dweller
Suburban Rhythm (Pittsburgh)
Important issue that's not addressed nearly enough. You're in line getting your arena nachos. Double Cheese, Double Salsa, or one of each? Answer carefully.
Katie Strang (1:22 PM)
I would omit the salsa and opt instead but jalapenos. Important question. Also I just had to check the correct spelling of jalapenos
Chicago still hasn't moved a player to get under the cap. Is it Leddy, Oduya, maybe Versteeg if they have a kid who can play the right role?
Katie Strang (1:24 PM)
My money is on Oduya, who I think would be a shrewd "get" for a team looking to bolster its defense. Him and Hjarmalsson played some important minutes together last year
Rocket Richard early picks and maybe a sleeper? Gaborik 50-60 goals?
Katie Strang (1:25 PM)
A healthy Steven Stamkos
Better shot at making their respective club. Johnny Gaudreau, Sam Reinhart, or Jonathan Drouin?
Katie Strang (1:25 PM)
I think Johnny Gaudreau. Would've said Drouin, but with the news today that he will miss 3-4 weeks with a fracture on his right thumb, that sets him back. Hard to miss essentially an entire training camp
Is Sergei Bobrovsky nice in person? I've heard most people are pretty intimidated by him.
Katie Strang (1:26 PM)
Extremely. Got the chance to talk to him for the first time at the player media tour in NYC a few weeks ago. A little on the quiet side, but once you get him talking, he's very gregarious
Do you think Jaromir Jagr will be a hot commodity at the 2015 trade deadline?
Katie Strang (1:28 PM)
Depends on where the Devils are at in the standings and if Jagr is able to stay healthy. I'm sort of convinced at this point that he's bionic, but durability could become an issue.
Hi Katie, who do you think has the best chance to challenge the Bruins for 1st in the Atlantic?
Katie Strang (1:29 PM)
Tampa. Also, I think Ottawa has the chance to take a significant tumble down the standings
Do you buy into this notion of Toews is actually better than Crosby? The advanced and basic stats all heavily favor Crosby, but "Toews wins" seems to outweigh the analytic evidence.
Katie Strang (1:30 PM)
I think it is more that there is a split among people about who they would rather build around, not who is the best player in the NHL. I think that is almost universally accepted to be Crosby.
Ryan McDonagh (NYC)
Katie, where's my damn C?????
Katie Strang (1:31 PM)
I am also surprised this has yet to happen. Alain Vigneault taking his time
Katie, The prevailing theory is that the Sharks are a team in transition. Can you see the Sharks surprising a lot of teams and doing some damage in the post-season. Ultimately, this team will be judged on what it does or doesn't do in the playoffs.
Katie Strang (1:34 PM)
I agree with the word "transition" David. I think Doug Wilson would have fared a lot better this summer had he used "transition" rather than "re-build," which really gives the wrong idea. Who knows about the post-season. Last year, I picked them to win the Cup in our pre-season projections. LeBrun has picked them practically every year before that. No one will be picking them this year. Maybe the lack of pressure helps? I don't know, but it really seems like a potentially toxic environment in San Jose
If the Bruins trade Boychuk, what's the likely return? I know their cap situation is fickle, but a quality player like him has to return something more than cap space.
Katie Strang (1:34 PM)
Ideally, they'd like someone that can play right wing
So exactly what teams are bottom-dwellers of the eastern conference?
Katie Strang (1:35 PM)
I think Ottawa will struggle, Carolina too.
Is J. Bernier of the Leafs a top 10 goalie?
Katie Strang (1:36 PM)
No, I don't think so, but I think it's a positive thing for the Leafs to have a clear-cut starter heading into the season. This season will be a critical one for Bernier, and the Leafs. Curious to see what will happen with Reimer
Matt (Arlington, Virginia)
Katie, you predict the Caps will finish 7th in the Metro. Yet, last year they were three points from the playoffs. They cleaned house of Oates and brought in an experienced coach with a proven record and two d-men to ease the pressure on their top lines. Your analysis was predicated on "ifs" and a feeling they would have a slow start. Can you provide something more tangible as to why you see them as 7th and missing the playoffs?
Katie Strang (1:39 PM)
That's fair, Matt. Always hard to handicap things when we haven't seen a single game. What am I basing that on? I'm not sold on Holtby. I'm not sold on Orpik. I think Niskanen was a good "get" but don't underestimate the type of pressure that comes with signing a monster contract like that and the type of expectations that come with being "the" guy. I love Backstrom's game. Ovechkin, despite the criticism he endures for his defensive shortcomings, is still an absolute force. I think a big part of the team's success will be dependent on how he meshes with Trotz. With lots of changes, comes lots of question marks. I feel the same way about Carolina, which is why I picked them to finish 8th.
Martin Brodeur (in kitchen staring at phone)
please ring...please ring...please ring...
Katie Strang (1:40 PM)
I'm fairly sure Brodeur has received some interest from teams. But, he has earned the right to be selective. At his age and status, why go anywhere besides the places you really feel would be a good fit?
Andy Q (Alton, IL)
The Wings were decimated by injuries last season. If they can stay healthy, could they challenge for the top spot in the Atlantic?
Katie Strang (1:42 PM)
Yes, I think they can Andy. Problem being, they are already going through another bout of bad injury luck. Season has not even begun and top prospect Anthony Mantha has a broken tibia, Darren Helm has a fractured nose and Pavel Datsyuk reportedly underwent an MRI for his shoulder. Yikes.
Will the general hockey public ever appreciate how good Shea Weber is? His fancy stats are off the charts, he plays with no forwards and is consistently amongst the top D in scoring.
Katie Strang (1:44 PM)
Probably not. Imagine a big factor in the lack of recognition he deserves is the fact that he plays in a smaller hockey/media market. But make no mistake, he was probably the most consistent player cited when my ESPN colleague Craig Custance recently polled players about who they'd want to build a franchise around. Jamie Benn got a lot of love for that as well, which goes to show you that Weber isn't the only person under-appreciated on account of where he plays
Henry (US but so close to Canada)
Bruins & Hawks both project to ditch a dman pre-start of the season. Does one act quick to beat the other, vis-a-vis getting something close to full value?
Katie Strang (1:46 PM)
If they had a deal that made sense, either team would have done it by now. At this point, probably shrewd to wait and see how training camp pans out and which teams emerge as potential trade partners if an injury situation arises. They have until opening night, I believe, to clear the cap space
will malkin be ready for the start of the season?
Katie Strang (1:47 PM)
Certainly cannot say with any amount of clarity, especially if it happens to be one of those nagging, start-of-training camp injuries (groin/oblique strain) that never seem to heel, but impression I got was that the injury was not believed to be serious
Morris (Pgh, PA)
You still misspelled it btw. It's jalapenos.
Katie Strang (1:48 PM)
I love you, Morris
Katie Strang (1:48 PM)
Ok all we are going to end there today. Thanks again for stopping by and, as always, appreciate the great questions!